Jordan had started third on the reverse grid but launched past both pole sitter Chilton and second placed Cook off the line. By the first corner he was already well ahead and was never headed after that. Colin Turkington worked his way up to second and challenge his team mate strongly in the closing stages, including a touch between the two cars, but Jordan managed to stay ahead.
It was Jordan’s first meeting for WSR after moving from Motorbase over the winter and he was thrilled to start the first meeting for Pirtek BMW with a victory;
“That was quite a start wasn’t it with rear-wheel drive and a new team? I was getting a bit twitchy with Colin (Turkington) looking really, really strong on the soft tyres behind – the rear-wheel drive expert! We had a little rub at the end there but it was a good way to end. I knew he wasn’t going to do anything silly. It wasn’t the calmest moment of my career when he did get past Tom (Chilton). I was hoping he’d be behind him a bit longer but I knew he was coming. I just kept driving to my markers, tried not to look in my mirrors any more than usual and tried to be kind on the left rear tyre. It’s special really, to get the win on my first event with BMW Pirtek Racing and West Surrey Racing. It’s down to the team – credit to the guys for all the work they’ve put in, especially with the addition of the new engine.”
Turkington was pleased with his second place, especially as his day had started with a crash;
“It’s so easy to let the head drop at the start of the day when you make 12 yards off the line and end up facing the traffic but I’ve been around in this championship for so long that I know you’ve just got to look to the next race. Race two was where all the hard work was done really, carving through from the back and giving myself a chance with a good slot on the grid for race three. The guys gave me a great car in the BMW for the last one. We tweaked it for the soft tyre and I couldn’t believe the pace. I got close to Andy (Jordan) but we had our instructions and I wasn’t going to do anything silly!”
As Jordan had launched his way through into the lead on the opening lap, Mat Jackson had tried to nip through the gap created by Jordan’s car. Unfortunately for him, the gap closed and he found himself with nowhere to go but the paddock hill gravel trap. Although he managed to drive out the other side, his challenge for a good result was over.
After Pole sitter, Tom Chilton had found himself dropping behind Jordan at the start he then put in a strong fight remaining second for much of the contest until Turkington came through and closed on him. Chilton’s brand new Power maxed Vauxhall Astra was no match for the BMW and Turkington was easily passed. Fortunately everyone else was by now far enough back that Chilton was able to maintain third place to the flag. A great result for both his and Vauxhall’s return to the championship.
“It was perfect.” Said Chilton after the race “It’s our first event of the year and we’re still learning the car. It shows what a great job Power Maxed Racing has done and to get a podium, even with a bit of luck with the reverse grid draw, it’s brilliant. It’s put me right up there in the championship in a new car – it’s amazing. I didn’t expect it at all. The BTCC has 32 of the best drivers in Britain and some of the best teams around, so to get a result is very difficult – especially a podium, so I’m absolutely over the moon. It was quite special and for us, it felt like a win.”
Maximum Motorsport’s Josh Cook wasn’t able to take advantage of the grid draw as he fell down the order. Initially it looked like a top ten might be possible for the Ford Focus driver but a mistake saw him run wide at Druids and he dropped down to twenty sixth place.
Tom Ingram again struggled with Ballast as he had in race two, he also dropped down the order but managed to hold on to eleventh place at the flag. Important points that could prove vital for his championship battles when the season draws to a close later in the year.
Matt Neal brought his Halfords Yuasa Honda home in fourth ahead of Adam Morgan’s Ciceley Mercedes. Morgan has maintained the consistency which kept him in the title hunt until later last season. Rob Collard was sixth after losing pace later in the race. Before that it had looked like he might challenge for a podium to make a BMW lock out but with his fading pace, the 1-2-3 chances faded too.
Shedden scored more points in seventh ahead of the Eurotech Honda of Jack Goff who has been in the top half of the field all day.
Michael Epps and Jake Hill completed what had been quite a good day for the Team Hard Squad with ninth and tenth.
Behind eleventh placed Tom Ingram came the MG of Aron Taylor Smith, the MGs not having the weekend they’d hoped for. The recovering Mat Jackson managed points in thirteenth after his first lap excursion. Dave Newsham salvaged what had been a tough first meeting for BTC Norlin by scoring their first points with fourteenth with Daniel Lloyd’s MG completing the points scorers.
Shedden leaves Brands hatch as the overall points leader from Ingram with Jordan in third. Morgan, Collard and Chilton complete the top six. Adam Morgan leads the indpendents championship from Ingram and Goff. In the Jack Sear, Senna Proctor is the early leader picking up his first trophy for being the best rookie of the day. BMW leads the manufacturer/Constructor championship from Honda and Vauxhall. Lastly Honda lead the team’s championship ahead of BMW with Speedworks in third.
The championship now heads to Donington park in two week’s time. With everything being so close, it’s possible we will see a very different result. Subaru in particular will want to turn their weekend around after a nightmare time at Brands which saw Jason Plato’s car too damaged to even start race three.
2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 3 – Brands Hatch (Indy):
1 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing 24 laps
2 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.315s
3 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +4.692s
4 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +7.558s
5 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +10.205s
6 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Team BMW +10.812s
7 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +11.719s
8 Jack GOFF (GBR) Eurotech Racing +12.141s
9 Michael EPPS (GBR) Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing +12.970s
10 Jake HILL (GBR) TAG Racing +14.367s
11 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +18.859s
12 Aron TAYLOR-SMITH (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +21.500s
13 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat with Duo +21.648s
14 Dave NEWSHAM (IRL) BTC Norlin Racing +22.117s
15 Daniel LLOYD (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +22.587s
16 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts +23.653s
17 Jeff SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +25.070s
18 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +25.546s
19 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +25.942s
20 Luke DAVENPORT (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +26.183s
21 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +26.540s
22 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +26.932s
23 Ant WHORTON-EALES (GBR) AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts +29.636s
24 Josh PRICE (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +30.335s
25 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +33.244s
26 Josh COOK (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +1 lap
27 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +2 laps
28 Will BURNS (GBR) Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing +3 laps
DNF Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +4 laps
DNF Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing
DNF James COLE (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing
DNS Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing By Marc Waller